This post is meant to offer guidance to common “what now” questions that could emerge from pastor J.D.’s sermon “The Inauguration: Luke 3-4,” preached at The Summit Church Saturday/Sunday March 12-13, 2011.
Was there something about Jesus’ baptism in Luke 3 that helped him resist the temptation He faced in Luke 4? I believe the answer is yes. But I do not believe the answer is found in the ceremony or experience. Rather, I think it was the expression of the Father, “You are my beloved Son, with You I am well pleased (3:22).”
Hold onto that thought and go with me to Narnia for a moment. In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe Edmund wrestles with a large amount of insecurity – due to his parents being in harm’s way because of war, being displaced from his home, and rivalry with his stronger, older brother Peter. From the moment he steps foot on Narnian soil, he is a king. But he doesn’t know it.
When he meets the White Witch, she offers to make him a prince if he will do her bidding. As an insecure boy far from home, that sounded like a great offer. As one of the four ancient kings prophesied and appointed by Aslan, that should have sounded like a really lousy offer. But Edmund did not know who he was, so he took it.
Most temptation boils down to Satan offering us what we already have in Christ. Satan is always willing to sell us what we already possess at a “steal of price.” If we do not know who we really are, we’ll take the deal.
Return to the temptation account of Luke 4 now. Notice that Jesus does not doubt who He is and, therefore, does not accept the short cuts (which are actually radical redefinitions) to attain what is already His.
As you seek to allow your identity as a child of God (Eph. 5:1) to serve as a protection in temptation, use these four questions to guide you.
Question #1: How do you define who you are? Do you define yourself by a certain relationship, ability, failure, event, dream, or occupation?
Question #2: How does your relationship with God, as His adopted and loved child, change your sense of identity? Did you view your baptism as a watershed moment in your life that forever changed who you are?
Question #3: What insecurities or areas of pride does Satan use to tempt you or create a context of temptation for you?
Question #4: In those times of temptation, how is Satan offering you something you already have in Christ?
Allow these questions to enable you to approach moments of temptation with greater confidence; not in yourself but in the superior provision of God for anything you will face. When faced with these questions, temptation leads us to worship rather than sin.
When we see this, the fear/shame that we often feel at the moment of temptation (which is not sin) dissipates, because we now have a map to move from failure to worship. As we compare the best of what Satan has to offer with who we already are and what we already have in Christ, the response should be laughter. In which case, Satan is the one who slinks away in shame and embarrassment, not the child of God.
If this post was beneficial for you, then considering reading other blogs from my “Favorite Posts on Personality” post which address other facets of this subject.